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Master Conflicts

ByStephen J. Betchen, Heather L. Davidson

Listed below are 19 master conflicts that we have identified over our many years of clinical practice with couples. For each conflict, we have included a description and three brief clinical examples. Most of these cases contain sexual content, but the immediate purpose of this chapter is to acquaint the reader with the myriad of master conflicts. It is also an admittance there may be more master conflicts yet to be identified. While it is a rare occurrence, some couples prefer that the therapist create a different name for their conflict—one that they feel better resonates with them. Other couples prefer to name their own conflict for the same reason. A female client complained that she could not relate to being told that she suffered form an unbalanced power vs. passivity conflict. One side needs to be accepted; the other side, rejected. Clients with this conflict value pleasing others and demonstrate a desire to be accepted, especially by their partners.